A Springfield, Missouri attorney is spearheading a statewide campaign to restore respect for "In God We Trust" as our national motto. Dee Wampler is leading an effort to convince county commissions and
municipal governments to post copies of the national motto on county courthouse walls and in city halls.
The campaign to establish a visible acknowledgement of our nation's religious heritage began as a grassroots effort in California. Wampler has succeeded in convincing 14 counties and 35 cities in Missouri to either post a public display of the national motto or pass an "In God We Trust" resolution. Most of the counties and cities who have signed on so far are located in the southwest corner of the state.
"Our goal is to reaffirm our nation's history, culture, and tradition," Wampler says. "Our national motto is displayed in Congress and is a matter of federal law and statute. It is contained in dozens of national monuments and thousands of state monuments throughout our nation. It is etched on every single coin and bill in our pockets. It belongs on the wall of every local courthouse as well."
The resolutions adopted by Missouri cities and counties documents the history of our nation's establishment of our national motto. The words "In God We Trust" first appeared in a stanza of the national anthem composed by Francis Scott Key in 1814. The U.S. Congress acted in 1955 to require that the words be inscribed on all coin and paper currency. In 1956 Congress voted to formally
declare "In God We Trust" as the national motto.
Wampler points out that our nation's religious foundation is long established and long revered. "Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and nearly every other President has repeated the phrase in speeches, letters, and prayers. The Ten Commandments are posted in the U.S. Supreme Court chambers directly above where the Supreme Court justices sit. The words 'In God We Trust' are engraved on the wall above the speaker's dais in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. It's time we do the same thing here at home."
To date, the counties of Camden, Crawford, Christian, Cole, Greene, Jasper, Laclede, Lawrence, McDonald, Scott, Stone, Taney, Texas, and Webster have agreed to post the national motto. The following cities and town have acted to pass resolutions or to publicly display the national motto: Adrian, Anderson, Ash Grove, Benton, Billings, Branson, Bolivar, Buffalo, Butler, Cabool, Camdenton, Clever, Crane, Fair Grove, Hartville, Hermitage, Humansville, Jefferson City, Joplin, Lebanon, Licking, Mansfield, Marshfield, Marble Hill, Monett, Mountain Grove, Osceola, Ozark, Republic, Salem, Sikeston, Stockton, Strafford, and West Plains.
Wampler has long been an outspoken religious liberty proponent. He is the author of a book entitled "The
Myth of Separation of Church and State." The defense lawyer has also penned the book "The Trial of Christ: a 20th Century Lawyer Defends Jesus."
"We have, in the past 200 years, adopted a Judaeo-Christian concept of welcoming all peoples and religions," Wampler says. "We have learned not to speak at one another, but with one another. We have made our nation a neighborhood, but unfortunately not yet a brotherhood. Our national motto reminds us of our common heritage."
To those who believe his campaign is an imposition of religious values, Wampler responds: "We pledge
allegiance to the United States, and when foreign folks come to our nation and take the sworn oath of citizenship, they should respect our national traditions, culture, and history, just as we respect theirs when we visit abroad."
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the national motto. Atheist activist Michael Newdow had argued that the inscription of the words "In God We Trust" on American currency amounted to the establishment of religion. He contended that imprinting the motto on money forced him to be an "unwilling bearer of a
religious message." The High Court declined to review the case without comment.
Newdow's lawsuit had even been dismissed by the liberal Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges of the Ninth Circuit concluded that the national motto has "a patriotic and ceremonial character," and that the words "In God We Trust" have "no theological or ritualistic impact."
Newdow has also filed continuing lawsuits against the use of the words "One Nation Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. He also tried to block the inclusion of an
invocation during the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
If your county or community is not listed above among those who have joined the statewide national motto campaign, we encourage you talk to your mayor or county commissioners about doing so. You can gain assistance in the effort by contacting Wampler at his e-mail address at email@example.com, or by calling his Springfield office at (417) 882-9300.